At The Fisherman Restaurant and Lounge, diners drink in sweeping views of Fishers Island from the dining room or cove-side patio as they peruse a chef’s tasting menu teeming with fresh, local seafood. Amorous couples or rival sea captains hoping to bury the hatchet warm up with orange-and-mango firecracker shrimp or indulge in a decadent version of a childhood favorite with the creamy lobster mac 'n' cheese. White tablecloths set the backdrop for main dishes of top-sirloin fillet steak, whose shallot-and-blue-cheese crust hypnotizes taste buds in much the same way a snake charmer mesmerizes a cobra with a pocket watch. A fillet of sole and native clams bathe in miso vegetable broth, or veal meatballs bob in slow-simmered basil marinara. Guests plunge spoons into gingersnap bread pudding or savor biscotti with vanilla-bean ice cream for an ending sweeter than the director's cut of Romeo and Juliet where the poison and dagger are replaced with biscotti and vanilla-bean ice cream.
The Bridge Market serves up classic American fare, including deli wraps, soups. and wood-fired pizza. Customers can dress their pizzas with red or white sauce and a variety of Italian-inspired toppings. Homemade meatball and tuna salad are some of the hot and cold grinder choices, and a priced-per-pound salad bar allows customers to create their own meals and finally figure out how much a solitary crouton weighs. On Friday, the scent of seafood fills the air from fried fish 'n' chips to fish sandwiches.
The fresh breezes that buffet Mystic's shoreline probably feel much the same as they did 150 years ago, so it's a fitting place to find America's nautical history resurrected. Called Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea, includes 19 acres of exhibition space. In addition to the museum proper, the complex hosts a recreated 19th-century sea-faring village, a working shipyard, and extensive gardens that blanket the grounds. Live museum staff lead demonstrations and performances throughout, even welcoming guests aboard the National Historic Landmark vessels moored in port. On Wednesdays through Mondays, captains take visitors out on the water in a coal-fired steamboat to experience the river and town from a different angle. They also rent out their small boats seasonally, to visitors who can comfortably handle being in charge of a boat. When tired of ship studying and naval gazing, guests can head to the Treworgy Planetarium and turn their eyes to the stars, learning how to chart courses in the manner of ancient captains, modern astronauts, and late-night deliverymen.
Over a plate of fresh Maine lobster that they brought back to the city themselves, husband-and-wife duo Ralph Gorham and Susan Povich wondered aloud, “Why doesn’t someone in New York start a fresh-seafood business?” Their destiny as restaurateurs was realized the moment those words were uttered: they opened Red Hook Lobster Pound a mere six months later. Gorham began traveling to Maine every weekend, scoping out catches and making deals with fisherman, choosing only those that partook in environmentally sustainable practices. Meanwhile, Povich experimented with recipes in order to add to an already lengthy repertoire of lobster-based recipes she learned while growing up in the Northeast. Word of mouth helped spark interest in their eatery, and before long, the demand compelled them to expand their storefront to include a picnic-style dining room. They’ve even added a food truck––nicknamed "Big Red"––that brings lobster-based dishes to diners across the city. According to The New York Times, success has had little effect on Red Hook Lobster Pound’s menu: “It tastes as fresh as can be, which matters when you’re dealing with a trend that’s growing so fast.” Their lobster rolls—served on split-top buns and garnished with just enough homemade mayo—have been lauded by Zagat, Bloomberg News, and Gourmet.com. Other popular dishes include lobster bisque, lobster mac-n-cheese, and a lobster dinner, served with homemade coleslaw, potato salad, and fresh, lake-caught corn.
Jim Scoggins first felt the rocking of a ship's deck in the 1950s on the rolling waters of Lake Champlain. Though he traveled south and found himself in healthcare administration for the next few decades, he never lost the passion for sailing—and eventually returned to New England to conquer more waves in the 1980s. With Sail the Sounds LLC established at three local ports, Captain Jim now uses his original sailing craft, an O'Day 39, as part of his training and charter fleet. He and his wife, Teresa, helm an ASA-certified training center, charter service, and cruising club to set guests out on the sparkling waters of Mystic River and Mystic Harbor. Captains pilot three Hunter yachts for chartered trips, as well as six Hunter 240 sailboats for captain rentals, sailing-club events, and classes teaching technique for keelboats, coastal navigation, and safely chartering parties of water-fearing cats.
From Texas beef brisket to tangy Atlantic pulled pork, chef Chet’s culinary philosophy remains the same: it’s not the sauce that makes for good barbecue cuisine, but the stuff you slather the sauce on. To that end, Chet enhances succulent cuts of meat by enrobing them in piquant spices and curing them in his metal smoker behind the restaurant. There, spare ribs, wings, and hot links simmer for up to 15 hours before cozying up to southern sides such as mac 'n' cheese and sweet potatoes.
In addition to his cuisine, Chef Chet pays homage to the rural south by decking out his brick-red dining room with rough-hewn wooden booths, folk art, and wisecracking grandmas at every table.